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Food Power Adventure Comes to Douglas County Schools

Students from Ava R-I Elementary, Skyline R-II, and Ava Victory Academy traveled the path from the farmer’s field to the playing field when the University of Missouri Extension’s Food Adventure came to Ava on Nov. 14 and 15. Along the way, students learned answers to the questions, “Where does food come from?” and “How does it give me energy to help me grow?”

Food Power Adventure, a popular traveling exhibit, gives elementary students an inside look at how the body turns food into energy.

Students travel through eight different stations: Farm, Packaging/Labeling, Hands, Cafeteria, Mouth, Stomach, Small Intestine, Muscles, and Bones.

Students start at the “Pizza Farm” to learn where farmers grow ingredients such as wheat and tomatoes. They learn that all of the ingredients to make pizza are raised on farms.

At the Food Packaging area, students discover what happens to food when it leaves the farm. They will learn to use the nutrition information on packages to make healthy food choices.

At the “Hand” station, students get stamped with invisible ink; when they look under the special “germ” light, they will get an unsuspected surprise – a germ appears on their hand.

In the Cafeteria area, students will learn what foods go with each food group and choosing a variety of foods every day is very important.

The mouth is probably one of the favorite stations for the students. Here they sit on giant teeth, see a giant toothbrush and giant floss; students learn that digestion begins in the mouth. They also get to explore their sense of taste.

From the mouth, students travel through the esophagus into the stomach where food is broken down. Digested food is absorbed in the small intestine and carried in the blood to all parts of the body.

The muscle and bone stations are fun and interactive. The students get to work their muscles using stretchy bands and get to feel their heart rates increase. Students learn that exercise and calcium rich foods such as milk and cheese help to strengthen their bones.

“Food Power Adventure is the kind of active learning experience students need to help them see how the food choices they make give them the energy they need to play and grow,” said Ann Leonard, wellness coordinator for the Missouri Foundation of Health grant, and elementary P.E. and Food Power Coordinator for the school. “In addition to being a fun way for kids to learn about nutrition, the school is also meeting its wellness policy goals and state education standards,” she added.

High school students from LeeAnn Tomlinson’s family and consumer science classes paired up and were allowed to be the presenters for the eight different Food Power stations.

Those high school students included Ciara Bray, Deevala Rawlings, Jessica Treece, Brittney Dixon, Erica Croney, Maddi Guill, Dusty Graham, Kayla Tanner, Brittanie Newell, Esther Johnson, Brett Vinson, Makayla Hesterlee, Darian Bushong, Courtney Mings, Shelby Campbell, Teia Roberts, and Amber Henderson.

Ava Middle School Student Council members, with advisor Margaret Evans-Frazier, were the escorts for the kindergarten-4th  grade students as they traveled through Food Power Adventure.

Those Student Council members included Belle Giorgianni, Savanah Bryan, Hailey Pedersen, Madison Irby, Kathrin Buff, Madison Freeman, Dalton Curtis, Connor Moran, Logan Little, AJ VanValkenburg, Kate McDonald, Lauren Mendel, Jess Stafford, Hailey Lansdown, Cade Verhage, Stephen Copeland, Josh Johnson, Sydney Snelson, Megan Lakey, Olivia Heriford, Dylan King, Jacob Gillies, Nate Swofford, Grace Key, Layla Giorgianni, Miquia Heinlein, Zach Mendel, Zach Miller, Colton Marler.

Marie Tyrell, Food Power Exhibit Coordinator West Region with the University of Missouri Extension, brought the Food Power equipment, set it up and assisted with the two-day presentation.

Marie has had this title for the past six years; starting in January Marie will be the Food Power Exhibit Coordinator for the entire state of Missouri.